When I was young, Thanksgiving was simple. It was a day off from school, or from work. A day for watching football, or for eating as much turkey and pie as I could manage. As I’ve gotten older, though, my relationship with Thanksgiving has changed. It’s not just a day for eating or relaxing, or even visiting with family, as enjoyable as all those things are.
It’s a day for reflecting.
When we look back and reflect, we often realize just how many simple joys and surprises we’ve been blessed with throughout the year. Every last-minute change of plan led to something better. Every hardship endured made us that much stronger for the next. Every door that closed only for another to open. Every goal achieved; every obstacle overcome. Every much-needed hug or a kind word was spoken. Every new friendship made or old rekindled. Every person who ever lent their hand to hold, their arm to lean on, their heart to touch.
Too often, we let the most golden moments of our lives go by without noticing. But Thanksgiving is a chance to count and catalog them all. So they don’t go to waste. So we remember them always.
Recently, I discovered a Thanksgiving poem written by a poet named Ella Wheeler Wilcox in the 19th century. It perfectly encapsulates what the day now means to me – and why Thanksgiving is so important. I wanted to share it with you because, I think you will enjoy it, too.
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox1
We walk on starry fields of white
And do not see the daisies;
For blessings common in our sight
We rarely offer praises.
We sigh for some supreme delight
To crown our lives with splendor,
And quite ignore our daily store
Of pleasures sweet and tender.
Our cares are bold and push their way
Upon our thought and feeling.
They hang about us all the day,
Our time from pleasure stealing.
So unobtrusive many a joy
We pass by and forget it,
But worry strives to own our lives
And conquers if we let it.
There's not a day in all the year
But holds some hidden pleasure,
And looking back, joys oft appear
To brim the past's wide measure.
But blessings are like friends, I hold,
Who love and labor near us.
We ought to raise our notes of praise
While living hearts can hear us.
Full many a blessing wears the guise
Of worry or of trouble.
Farseeing is the soul and wise
Who knows the mask is double.
But he who has the faith and strength
To thank his God for sorrow
Has found a joy without alloy
To gladden every morrow.
We ought to make the moments notes
Of happy, glad Thanksgiving;
The hours and days a silent phrase
Of music, we are living.
And so the theme should swell and grow
As weeks and months pass o'er us,
And rise sublime at this good time,
A grand Thanksgiving chorus.
I hope this Thanksgiving gives you a chance to reflect on all the joys, pleasures, and blessings in your life. On behalf of my entire team, I hope you have a wonderful holiday!